ATLANTA, GA– May 11, 2017– BridgeCommunity is a unique nurturing and commercialization program that connects early-stage tech startups with global corporations. Today the program is announcing an expansion of their program for a second North American cohort.
BridgeCommunity is designed to engineer and accelerate startup and corporate relationships. Startups receive world-class enterprise sales, marketing, and negotiations training to understand corporate innovation needs. Corporations are coached on minimizing roadblocks to streamline pilots and simplify contracts, and the BridgeCommunity team makes targeted introductions and mediates relationships.
As a part of their commitment to developing the Atlanta startup ecosystem, the commercialization program cultivates local startups, draws national and international startups, provides actionable education to both partners, and has launched a local community initiative to help raise the technical skill level in Atlanta from high-school onwards. This first-class program is leading the way for Atlanta to be a known location for innovation.
This year’s corporate roster adds Porsche North America and SunTrust Bank to the lineup from 2016, including Capgemini, Coca-Cola, COX Enterprises, InterContinental Hotels Group, The Weather Company.
“Porsche Financial Services is excited to join The Bridge Community: Atlanta. We look forward to providing a platform for startups to foster their ideas and grow their companies into thriving enterprises. We are especially interested in exploring ideas related to Fintech with each of our partnerships. Congratulations to The Coca-Cola Company for creating this unique opportunity for corporations and startups to cooperate across industries to support the growth of ecosystems in Atlanta.” – Ross Dupper, CEO, Porsche Financial Services
“SunTrust is proud to support and partner with The Bridge. The unique program fosters a collaborative environment that benefits corporate partners, startups as well as our community. The concept and spirit of the Bridge aligns perfectly with our purpose of Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being.” – Jennifer M. Lucas, SVP, Corporate Strategy, SunTrust Bank
The program also significantly increased their startup recruitment for the 2017 cohort resulting in triple the number of applications and double the number of participating startups compared to last year. Starting this month, 22 startups will gain access to a heavy-hitting list of corporations motivated to build relationships, run pilots, and enter licensing agreements during the six month program based in Atlanta.
“There are more Fortune 500 companies in Atlanta than San Francisco, but startups and top talent still move to the Valley in search of funding. Atlanta — with its culture of collaboration, get-it-done spirit, and massive tech sector hubs in FinTech, Security, IoT, Media and more — offers what most cities can’t: a tech ecosystem and real use cases. The BridgeCommunity provides an unprecedented program that bridges great new ideas with real world business to give startups what they really need — partners, mentors and most of all, customers!” – Chris Huff, Vice President, Mobile and Consumer App Development, The Weather Company
In addition, to help amplify the program we welcome on-board Steve Gertz – CEO Rhythmic Ventures, Peter Sorckoff – Chief Creative Officer of the Atlanta Hawks, and Kevin O’Connor – President of User Insight, as ‘Platform Evangelists’, promoting and providing value-add services to startups and corporate members.
“We are excited and honored to welcome two new community-minded corporate partners to the BridgeCommunity. Porsche Financial Services and SunTrust Bank’s proactive approach to innovation serves as a great complement to our returning corporate members. With a growing corporate membership base, expanding verticals of focus, the addition of platform evangelists, a broadening startup pool and the launch of our community initiatives, 2017 is poised to be a significant step forwards for this program and for Atlanta.” – Anthony Newstead, The Coca-Cola Company Director and Founder of BridgeCommunity
About the BridgeCommunity:
The Bridge began in 2014 as a collaboration between The Coca-Cola Company and the entrepreneurial tech community in Tel Aviv, Israel. A total of 30 companies have gone through the program over the last three years and 12 more were recently selected for The Bridge’s fourth class. Over the next seven months, these startups will commercialize their solutions with guidance from Coca-Cola, Turner and Mercedes-Benz.
The Bridge’s North American spin-off, the BridgeCommunity, is a unique program that grows the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Atlanta through startup engagement, partnerships, a powerful corporate member-to-member network and a local community initiative to help raise the technical skill level from high school onwards.
The first BridgeCommunity cohort, which included 10 startups and five corporations, sparked nine pilots and proof-of-concepts. During the program, participating startups collectively hired 32 new employees, experienced an average increase of 150% in month over month revenue, and raised $2.9M in VC funding.